KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A special night in Lawson Ice Arena ended in a tough defeat for the Western Michigan Broncos against the Lake Superior State Lakers, 3-2 Saturday night.
Both teams used pink tape on their sticks and laced up their skates in pink, while pink shirts were handed out to fans entering the arena as the Bronco hockey program and the American Cancer Society teamed up with one another to raise awareness for cancer research.
We played well I thought we had a big save in the first period from Pat [Inglis] when they had a breakaway chance, said Lakers coach Jim Roque. We had some great chances on two on ones and just didnt put them away, and give Western some credit they never gave up and fought to the end. That was a great shot by [Nathan] Ansell; he can really shoot the puck.
The game started quickly, unlike last nights game that both teams agreed that something was different about the energy from each team.
The Lakers struck first once again just three minutes into the game as Lakers freshman Chad Nehring circled around the back of the net taking a pass from senior Dan Eves in front of the net, and as the Broncos Steve Silver was hounding Nehring with the puck, the freshman center was able to light the lamp for the first goal of the night. Dillin Stonehouse garnered his third helper on the tally as well.
We played hard and played a little smarter and made some plays creating some things offensively, Roque said. Their guy [Bronco net minder Jerry Kuhn] made some good saves too. The goaltending tonight was pretty good on both sides.
Each team switched their goalies for the second game this weekend as the Broncos Jerry Kuhn replaced Riley Gill and Pat Inglis came in for Brian Mahoney-Wilson for the Lakers.
Neither one has really asserted themselves yet this year to be the no. 1 guy, so one guy will go for little bit and then the other will, Roque said. Maybe they just arent ready to be that guy yet. If we are going to win the rest of the way here, I think it is going to be by committee.
In the second period, the Lakers were able to extend their first period one goal lead to 2-0 at the 13:51 mark when Lakers junior Troy Schwab made his way around the Bronco defense drawing Kuhn out of position and put the puck into the back of the net past the Broncos Jonathan Lupa as he slid over to back his freshman goaltender up.
Again, give our guys the credit for continuing to battle through the third period with the goals by Ansell and then again with the extra man, said Broncos coach Jim Culhane. They were able to swing the momentum in their favor there in the second period when we had to kill those three penalties in a row. We have to shorten our bench, special teams with certain guys practicing those situations and now we have to battle to get the momentum back in our favor.
Throughout the game, it was the play between the pipes by Inglis, who came up with big saves early in the first period that helped lead the Lakers to victory making 33 saves in net on 35 Bronco shots.
Basically, like coach tells me to work on in every practice he encourages me to play aggressive and play outside the net, Inglis said. Brian [Mahoney-Wilson] and I have been working on that every day, and I try to play out as much as I could and there were a lot of shots from the outside and I saw them into my chest trying to minimize the rebound tries.
The Lakers added their final goal of the night less than two minutes into the third period, when the LSSUs Zac MacVoy took control of a Bronco turnover in their zone inside the slot in front of Kuhn and ripped a wrister top shelf for his eighth goal of the season.
He made a great pickoff play there and was just able to bury the goal for us, Roque said, when asked about the Lakers third goal of the night.
At the 18:26 mark of the period, Ansell skated up into the Lakers defensive zone and sent a blistering slap shot from the top of the point right past Inglis for the goal. Then again, with just five seconds left on the clock as the Broncos pulled Kuhn from the net, junior Jeff LoVecchio slid the rebound try past the red goal line to make the final score 3-2.
It is huge, there is nothing bigger than beating another team in their own barn, Inglis said about picking up the two points in the standings.
Especially this weekend with Western right behind us it was just a huge weekend. If they won two games they would be ahead of us, and we were fortunate enough to get the three points and stay in front of them.